The Law Society of Scotland has called for a full audit of the compatibility of Scots criminal law with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), to ensure issues such as those arising from the Cadder case cannot not easily recur.
The Society called for this measure in its recently published Manifesto for 2011. As part of the research for its manifesto, the Society held a number of discussion evenings with local stakeholders including: charities, universities, businesses and voluntary organisations to identify the needs of the wider civic community in relation to the legal system.
Jamie Millar, President of the Society said: “Our legal system has a long and proud tradition in ensuring the human rights of victims, suspects, the accused and prisoners. However, we must always strive for improvement and should ensure that human rights are taken into account in every case.
“The emergency legislation passed as a result of the Cadder case last year shows a clear need for a full review of the compatibility of Scots criminal law and ECHR and that is why we have called for this in our manifesto.
“In failing to uphold the right of access to a solicitor from the outset of any police station interview, Scotland found itself out on a limb relative to other countries in Europe, all of whom had this right or who were working towards its implementation. It is important for a vibrant and distinctive legal system in Scotland that it learns from and shares with the jurisprudence of other nations, all of whom are grappling with the same issues.”
“A proactive approach in reviewing the law and its ECHR compliance would also be cost-effective, reducing the number of challenges made to Scots law on human rights grounds.”
This policy has been adopted by one of the main political parties.
ENDS 3 MAY 2011
Notes to editors:
Please visit the website to download a copy of the Society’s manifesto: www.lawscot.org.uk/manifesto
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Journalists can contact Emily Young on 0131 476 8154 or Val McEwan on 0131 226 8884 or at the Law Society of Scotland Communications & Marketing department.